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24 JUN 2020

My Way: Sr Kwan Hock Hai FRICS

Besides starting a quantity surveying practice from scratch, Sr Kwan Hock Hai FRICS actively gives back to the profession through leading various key professional bodies in Malaysia over the past few decades and paved the path for the built environment.

The beginning

Like many Asian families, the choice for an academic degree is driven by good job prospects upon graduation. I was no exception and was first introduced to the quantity surveying profession by my brother-in-law who was an engineer.

What really spurred my interest in construction was my first assignment in Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was tasked to write a report on an old building and chanced upon St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. With such an interesting assignment, it gave me the impetus to complete my course and thereafter, pursue my career in quantity surveying.
While working in a quantity surveying consultancy firm, I embarked on my journey to become a RICS Chartered Surveyor and successfully qualified in 1988.

The breakthrough

The defining moment in my career came about when I was offered to join an international contactor and move to Singapore to work on a new and bigger project, after my completion of a major shopping centre project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My RICS qualification gave me an edge over my peers and opened up more opportunities for me globally.

However, after much contemplation, I decided to pursue the path of a professional consultant and turned down the valuable offer. While it was not an easy decision, it turned out to be for the better as two years later in 1992, I successfully set up a partnership in consultancy practice and since then, I have never looked back.

Sr Kwan Hock Hai FRICS
Sr Kwan Hock Hai FRICS

Timeline

  • 1984 Graduates from Heriot Watt University
  • 1988 Qualifies as a RICS Chartered Surveyor
  • 1992 Sets up his own consultancy firm
  • 2000 Becomes Chair of QS Division, Royal institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM)
  • 2002 Serves as a board member on Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM)
  • 2011 Becomes Chairman of RICS Malaysia Board
  • 2014 Becomes Chairman of RICS AESB
  • 2019 Becomes Chairman of The Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS)
  • 2020 Becomes President of RISM

RICS membership should not be seen as just a postfix to a name or a diploma hanging on the wall. It is also the foundation for personal character building and developing the vital qualities of a professional surveyor.

Sr Kwan Hock Hai FRICS, Director, Perunding PCT Sdn Bhd

The present

Perunding PCT Sdn Bhd has now grown into a medium-sized consultancy firm based in Kuala Lumpur. We have the privilege of working with many multinational companies throughout South East Asia as well as China and embarking on many interesting projects with them. Over the years, we have consulted in 20 shopping centres while at the same time, we were equally passionate to work on iconic bungalows and boutique resorts.

I am extremely fortunate to have supportive business partners and a company that allow me the time to get involved with institution matters as my way of giving back to the profession. Earlier on, I was the Chairman of RICS Malaysia Board and also a member of the RICS Asia Education & Standards Board (AESB). In addition to that, I was a Licensed Assessor Trainer (LAT) for RICS and until today, I still remain as an APC assessor. I had the opportunity to participate in a few harmonisation meetings of LATs, a RICS internal event aimed at ensuring APC being delivered consistently throughout all countries and cultures.

Currently, I am the President of the Royal institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) and the Chair of The Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS). These two organisations continue to engage RICS on matters that are of mutual benefit to the profession. I am a strong advocate of sustainability and green construction, and I serve as a member of the accreditation board of the Green Building Index, Malaysia’s industry recognised green rating tool.

The future

As part of the built environment community, I wish to promote the quantity surveying profession and its best practices across the region. This involves sharing our researches and experiences through dialogue and regional cooperation for the betterment of the profession. As I take a step back from my daily work, I will have more time to mentor younger professionals and support them along their career.

The current onslaught of the digital revolution may leave some surveyors overwhelmed but learning from the way we ride through the “AutoCAD revolution”, I can say for certain that the consultancy profession in the built environment will never be a sunset industry.

Connect with Sr Kwan Hock Hai on LinkedIn